• Choose products with the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The ADA Seal on a product is your assurance that it has met ADA standards for safety and effectiveness. Look for the ADA Seal on fluoride toothpaste, toothbrushes, floss, interdental cleaners, oral irrigators and mouth rinse.
  • Look for a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps keep tooth enamel strong and can aid in repairing the early stages of decay. If you have sensitive teeth, your dentist may suggest using special toothpaste.
  • Select a toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand and in your mouth, and use it twice a day. All ADA-accepted toothbrushes – manual or powered – earned the ADA Seal because they can remove plaque above the gumline and reduce gingivitis. For children, choose a child-sized toothbrush.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t clean your teeth properly. Children’s toothbrushes often need replacing more frequently because they can wear out sooner. If you have hand, arm, or shoulder problems that limit movement, you may find a powered toothbrush easier to use.
  • Oral irrigating devices use a stream of water to remove food particles around the teeth. They can be helpful for people who wear braces or dentures. However, an oral irrigator is meant to enhance, not replace, regular brushing and flossing.
  • Check mouthwash labels closely. Some mouthrinses just cover up odors; others actually kill germs and reduce plaque. Some mouthrinses have fluoride. If you are constantly using a breath freshener for bad breath, see your dentist. In some cases, bad breath may be a sign of poor health.
  • Ask your dentist or hygienist for product tips. People’s needs may differ, and your dental team can point you to products for your specific needs.